Movie: Full Metal Jacket
Virtually everyone who has any interest in movies at all has seen Full Metal Jacket, or at least the opening and unforgettable diatribe by R. Lee Ermey. It is noteworthy and unbelievable that Ermey was not cast in this role, but was merely hired by Stanley Kubrick as an advisor. Kubrick was so impressed with his sheer audacity and realism that he ended up casting Ermey in the role of the Marine Drill Instructor. It was a good move.
In a blistering period of only six minutes, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman terrorizes the new recruits. He also manages to insult several ethnic groups, gays, short people, people of size, the recruit’s parentage and commits 2 brutal assaults. I won’t devote a line of this review to quoting Sgt. Hartman’s brilliant word-smithing in this tour de force. If you have watched the movie, you undoubtedly know them by heart.
I could probably count on my finger on only one hand the actors in movies that can be characterized as “irreplaceable”. Maybe Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski or Peter O’Toole in Lawrence Of Arabia. R. Lee Ermey certainly lands near the top of this short list. Without Ermey, this film would have been only mediocre, and without this opening scene this masterpiece would have been unremarkable.